I don’t know youâ€”at least I don’t think I doâ€”but I have been struck by your willingness to speak openly and honestly about your situation. My Sikh friends speak of “seekers.” You are genuinely a seeker and, so, a person deserving of respect, including the respect of response. However, I haven’t had anything to say in response until now when you ask, “Does the gospel make sense (comment 23)?” The answer depends on what you mean by “sense.” The Oxford English Dictionary gives a very long list of meanings, from “the faculty of perception” (definition 1) to “that which distinguishes a pair of entities which differ only in that each is the reverse of the other” (definition 29b) as well as some 1997 addenda from DNA research. Obviously, however, the sense you had in mind is more like “discourse that has a satisfactory and intelligible meaning” (27) or “what is wise or reasonable” (28).
If a person insists on a certain, rationalist and Enlightenment understanding of intelligibility and reasonableness, then the gospel doesn’t make sense. No religion can be reduced to a rational system with neither remainder nor absence and without contradiction. But, as GÃ¶del proved, neither can arithmetic, so that inability on the part of religion isn’t much of a strike against it. Indeed, on that model of reasonableness, not very much is ultimately reasonable. So much the worse for that model. There are other ways of understanding reason and intelligibility that don’t reduce to irrationality but also don’t narrow rationality so much that almost nothing remains rational.
I think that the answer to the question you ask requires us to think about reasonableness differently, to think of the rationalist model of reason as an abstractâ€”emaciated rather than full-bloodedâ€”though often useful version of intelligibility. Intelligibility should be understood differently than we often do. To make that argument (though, in spite of the length of this post, not fully), let me quote at length from something I’ve already written on the subject, though I’ve edited it in places for this occasion, and I’ve omitted the footnotes. (For the original, see “Room to Talk: Reason’s Need for Faith.” Revelation, Reason, and Faith: Essays in Honor of Truman Madsen. Ed. Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and Stephen D. Ricks. Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002. 85-120.)
I will suggest that faith and reason are commensurable by arguing that reason always requires something outside the chain of reasons. In addition, as mentioned, I will sketch what I think may be an argument that the relation of reason to what is outside itself is a matter of faith. If that is the case, then at least one way in which faith and reason are commensurable is that the latter requires the former.
Before I make my case, however, let me briefly take up another way in which faith and reason are commensurable: not only does reason need faith, but faith needs reason. If, as it is often defined, faith is understood to be belief or even knowledge in the absence of compelling reasons, then it is obviously true by definition that faith and reason are mutually exclusive. When we are asked to talk about faith, if we are not careful, we almost always slip into our semi-philosophical or theological mode and, when we do, we are likely to say something like that. Though this response is common, I think it is seriously mistaken. Alvin Plantinga has argued, brilliantly I believe, that we should reject that definition: compelling experience may be sufficient, even in the absence of compelling beliefs. Faith is best thought of, not as belief in the absence of reasons, but as fidelity to something that one has been given, such as an experience or covenant, or trust in someone, such as God. That is how it seems most often to be used in scripture. It is a mistake to define faith as belief without reasons.
Indeed, Paul is explicit about faith being a matter of evidence: â€œNow faith is the substance (hypostasis; â€œrealityâ€? or â€œrealizationâ€?) of things hoped for, the evidence (elenchos: â€œproofâ€? or â€œargument forâ€?) of things not seenâ€? (Hebrews 11:1). Nephi and Lehi, the son of Helaman, convert hundreds to faith by offering them â€œgreat evidenceâ€? (Helaman 5:50). Later Nephi, the son of Helaman, tells the people that their unbelief is unreasonable, a rejection of convincing evidence (Helaman 8:24). Faith has reasons and requires them; at least part of what is wrong in the supposed confrontation between faith and reason is that a poor definition of faith is used. However, since I will assume that most of those reading this post are practicing, faithful Latter-day Saints, this argument needs little development. They already know, at least in their hearts, that there is more to faith than belief without reason, that faith is essentially trust and fidelity rather than belief, though beliefs will result from trust and fidelity and that when they do, they will have their reasonable ground. Thus, my primary focus will be on the nature of reason and its relation to faith.
Aristotle says that to be human is to be rational. With most people, Iâ€™m willing to accept that assumption without further proof, but the assumption cannot mean that to be human is to offer and listen to arguments. Aristotleâ€™s claim is not that human beings are all philosophical in the conventional sense of “philosophical”. At best, Aristotle is making the weaker claim, that all human beings are capable of using reason. But what does that mean?
In its essence, the problem of reason is simple: does reason have a reason, and if it does, how do we think that reason? How do we establish certain knowledge when reason reaches its end? Rene Descartes is one of the most important fathers of modernism, and we owe him much of our contemporary, ordinary understanding of reason (our â€œcommon senseâ€?). According to Descartes, there are self-certifying, rational foundations to reason. He assumes that reason has no reason. It begins from principles that are intuitively known to be true without reference to anything else, and proceeds logically from step to step, establishing knowledge as certain when it reaches its end. But few, if any, believed that before Descartes, and few, if any, believe it today. There are too many arguments against that understanding of reason.
In Metaphysics, Aristotle argues that without something outside of the chain of explanations, there can be no actual explanation. I think that is an argument whose power is often overlooked. Aristotle calls this something the archae, the origin. It is tempting to think that the archae is either the first in the series of efficient or other causes or to think of it as the first instance in a chain of rational explanations. That is almost always how we talk about it. However, to understand it in either of these ways is a mistake, for these two ways of understanding the archae are of a piece. Each reduces the archae to something with the same philosophical and perhaps ontological status as any other moment in the chain of explanation or account, the only difference being that, mysteriously, it is the first of those moments. Understood that way, Aristotleâ€™s argument makes no sense.
However, as we see in Thomas Aquinasâ€™s use of Aristotleâ€™s argument in the proofs for Godâ€™s existence, there is a better way of understanding Aristotle. As I think Aquinasâ€™s use shows, Aristotleâ€™s point is that there must be something outside of or beyond or prior to any chain of reasons to ground the chain in question or there will be no real reasonings. There must be what the recently deceased French philosopher, Jacques Derrida, calls â€œthe supplement,â€? though the name itself indicates that one speaks from within a chain of reasons rather than from any external point of view. One speaks of what is beyond reason from within reason because there is no alternative.
Expanded, Aristotleâ€™s point is this: potentially every chain of reasons, every reasoning or explanation, is infinitely long. No matter where I stop, in principle someone could ask, â€œAnd what explains that?â€? Nevertheless, our chains of reasoning do not go on to infinity. Something stops them; something makes any particular stopping point of an adequate chain of reasoning the appropriate place to stop. That which constitutes the adequate stopping point of a chain of reasons, however, is itself not part of that chain. The reason for the explanation is outside the chain. (It could be, and often is, something as straightforward as a state of affairs, â€œthe way things are.â€?) Thus, the real origin or first cause of any chain of reasons, is not the point at which we stop saying â€œA because of B because of C,â€? but something that is not itself part of the chain, something that we do not account for in our chain of reasons or causal account. It is the ground or origin, the archae, within which chain has meaning. That within which a chain of reasons has meaning is not something that can itself be explained by that chain; it is an â€œuncaused causeâ€? to use the traditional terminology and cannot be included in the chain of reasons.
Of course, we remove place the ground or origin of a chain of reasons into the chain as its first element. However, if we do, then it ceases to be the origin of the chain and becomes one of the things in the chain, namely, its first element. But that means that something new has taken its place as the origin of the chain of reasons, as the supplement, in other words, as the ground of explanations and reasons that is not part of the chain of reasons. Thus, if we take the Cartesian understanding of reason seriously, if we assume that the origin of explanation is not supplemental to explanation, that there is nothing outside the process of reason because reason is self-grounding, then we will have no way to stop giving reasons in any particular case. Without a supplemental ground within which the chain stops, every chain of reasons will go on to infinity and, so, will not do as a chain of reasons. An explanation that cannot come to an end is no explanation at all. If explanation requires a last word rather than a supplement, then the desire for the last word is implicitly the desire for garrulousness, not understanding.
This observation that the use of reason depends on something external to that use is a matter of common-sense. As always, philosophers argue for what ordinary people know without having to argue it. (From the reports one sees in the news, not always to be trusted, one suspects that those in charge of deciding what kinds of social science research projects to fund with government money are all philosophers.) In addition, many more philosophers have known this than have not. Medieval Christians certainly knew that explanations require something beyond them and their processes. The various sorts of empiricists also knew it, as did the Romantics. Marxism knows that reason has a â€œsupplementâ€? and, like Christianity, it reminds us that ignoring that fact is seldom innocent. Plantinga gives us perhaps the best explanation in analytic philosophy of this truth that we all already know. Deconstruction begins with the assumption of this need for something more and then tries to show places in texts and philosophies at which that dependance on what is beyond reason shines through the text. Feminism allies itself with marxism, though sometimes only implicitly, in recognizing both that reason is not self-grounding and that the claim that it is is not innocent. Ordinary members of the Church know that something more than reason is needed. But in spite of the fact that â€œeveryoneâ€? knows at least implicitly that reason requires a supplement, I think it is also true that few people recognize that fact when they think about reason or faith and fewer still recognize its implications or the questions it raises.
Having argued that reason requires a supplement, let me now turn to that supplement: what can we say about its character, if anything? and what is its relation to reason? For our purposes, these are the same as the question of how we can reasonably talk about what falls outside reason, so I will treat them as one question. On the face of it, we seem to be faced with a dilemma:
In order to speak reasonably about something, it seems that it must be within reason.
The supplement of reason is outside reason.
So, we cannot speak reasonably about it.
That conclusion at least raises doubts as to the tenability of the second premise, the premise for which I have argued. The argument seems self-contradictory.
To deal with this problem, begin by considering ways in which I think we cannot talk about the supplement of reason. When we hear people talk about faith and reason in Church talks or classes or serious conversations about serious matters, they often use a bastardized version of the language of Romanticism: there are things to be known and things to be felt; things to be explained rationally and things that defy rational explanation but are known by means of some other faculty. We sometimes use the word that the Romantics gave us for that other faculty, intuition; sometimes, instead, we speak of feeling; sometimes we associate the promptings of the Holy Ghost with the felt, intuitive faculty for knowing. Such an approach sees the problem and tries to solve it by supplementing reasonâ€™s realm with another realm, that of feeling, a realm that purportedly goes beyond our ability to conceive and that gives unity to the whole of experience.
The first problem with this approach is that it looks for a source of meaning in feeling rather than in God and the world he organized. In addition, this approach responds to the problem of reason with more problems: because it assumes there are two realms of knowledge, this approach doubles the difficulties. The problem was how to know in the realm of reason. If we add an additional realm of feeling, we now need to know how to know in the realm of reason and in the realm of feeling. It is not clear how creating an additional realm of knowledge solves the problems of the first, the realm of reason. If we reduce knowledge to two separate realms, reason and feeling, we are hopelessly and essentially schizophrenic: I cannot know the truth about the most important things rationally, and I cannot know what the other way of knowing them is unless Iâ€™ve already experienced it. In addition, without intending to, I think that this way of understanding makes any talk of knowing the objects of religion metaphorical, at best. By doing so it robs important parts of our lives, such as religious and aesthetic experience, of their ability to give us genuine knowledge.
Whatever the relation between reason and its supplement, that relation must be understood from within reason or it will fall into the abyss of irrationalism or, at best, the whim of subjective sentiment. Whatever the relation of reason and its ground, we must understand reason in a way that will allow us to do so without dropping beauty, art, religion, love, feeling, the good, and so on into the abyss of the irrational or nonrational.
It will perhaps be surprising that I think Kierkegaard understood that point quite well. On my reading of his work, because he understood that we can only understand the relation of reason to its supplement from within reason, he used pseudonyms and irony in his philosophical texts (at the same time that he was writing quite straightforward religious sermons). He wanted to pay appropriate due to reason without falling into the trap of making it independent of faith. As I understand Kierkegaardâ€™s best known treatise on faith, Fear and Trembling, Abraham is faced with a paradox when he is asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac. He must obey God who commands him to kill his son, but he knows that it is unholy to kill another person. Revelation contradicts ethical obligation. It is not uncommon to understand this paradox as a contradiction between reason and revelation: revelation and reason are incommensurable and revelation trumps reason.
However, instead, I think that the paradox of Abraham is not that revelation must contradict or trump reason, but that Abraham cannot make himself understood to foundationalist philosophers, those of Kierkegaardâ€™s countrymen who think they have, with Hegel, gone beyond Descartesâ€™ methodological doubt to rational certainty. Abraham cannot speak, says Johannes de Silentio, and yet he does speak. What Abraham says however is â€œabsurdâ€?â€”meaning that it cannot be heard by the foundationalist philosopher, not that it has no meaning. I take it that Kierkegaard is relying on the root meaning of the word “absurd”: â€œwhat cannot be said, what is voiceless,â€? so also, â€œwhat cannot be heard.â€?
The ab-surdity to which the story of Abraham points is the voicelessness of what lies outside the strict economy of Cartesian doubt and certainty. As a result, the ab-surdity that Silentio discovers is only meaningless or irrational if we insist that meaning and rationality are products only of â€œthe system,â€? only of Cartesian rationality. To be sure, what is outside the system is paradoxicalâ€”in other words, strange and marvelous, rather than self-contradictory (again, I take Kierkegaard to be relying on the root meaning of the word paradox: what is other than our expectations)â€”but it is not unreasonable or contrary to reason, except from the point of view of a reason that has been artificially and narrowly defined. As I understand Kierkegaard, Abraham cannot be understood if, and only if, one rejects the origin of his knowledge, which modern philosophers (in other words, philosophers from Descartes through at least Hegel) and those who accept their views reject.
To use Aristotleâ€™s word again, what is outside reason is, in fact, the archae of reason, its origin. However, it is an archae that we can hear only from within reason (since we take account of things always from within reason). Thus, we tend to hear it as if it were also within reason. It is as if we are listening to someone calling from outside the house but we assume that they are inside, or perhaps more accurately, it is like hearing someone quietly whisper something to us and believing that we are hearing ourselves think.
Within reason, its archae can be said and, in fact, is always said. Reason can and does give an account of itself. However, the account is always ironic, in a way that I will try to explain. There is no straightforward, non-question-begging, rational account of reason. One can be deaf to reasonâ€™s supplemental archae. One can refuse it recognition. One can refuse to hear what is said by means of rather than merely within reason. For the origin of reason does not show itself unambiguouslyâ€”clearly and distinctly, in other words theoretically. It cannot give itself clearly and distinctly or it would be one more of the thingswithin the realm of reason, rather than its supplement. But that something cannot be said clearly and distinctly does not mean that it cannot be said well or that it cannot be heard or that it cannot be understood without difficulty.
The profundity of the origin of reason is not necessarily the profundity of complexity and obscurity. Martin Heidegger (who himself sometimes, but not always, confused profundity with complexity) writes in The Principle of Reason of â€œthe second tonalityâ€? of the principle of sufficient reason, a tonality that does not deny that everything has an explanation but alerts us to the fact of the archae, of what can always be heard from beyond reason as well as always ignored. Kierkegaard helps us see the necessity of such an archae by showing the impossibility of giving a merely theoretical explanation of Abrahamâ€”along with the impossibility of simply writing Abraham off as a madman, as one who acts without, outside of, reason. Narratives and deconstructions of texts can help us catch a glimpse of the archae, the unavoidable, but always indirectly seen â€œsupplementâ€? of reason. So can carefully listening to the â€œtonesâ€? of propositions in otherwise logical discourse, hearing what those propositions also say. But nothing can guarantee that we will hear what comes to us from the archae, from what reason must call its supplement but is really its origin. One must learn to read and hear with Kierkegaardian irony, which is not to say one thing and to mean another, but to know that one always says more than one says on the surface and to take account of that â€œmore than,â€? to always also say something about oneâ€™s extra-rational foundations, but often and, finally, only implicitly.
Since we must assume that we speak ironically whenever we speak reasonably, we must also be suspicious of taking up irony as a posture. In the first place, if Kierkegaard, Heidegger, the Medievals, and important other thinkersâ€”such as Nephiâ€”are right, then ordinary language, even the â€œclear and distinctâ€? and often not-so-ordinary language of rational philosophy is already ironic. I need not add anything to it for it to be ironic. In the second place, only the character of the speaker can give a guarantee that what he or she says is said with the proper irony, and no speaker can guarantee his or her own character except by being of good character.
Thus, the answer to the question of how we are to understand the archae of reason from within reason is that we understand the origin of reason as we see the sun, not by looking at it directly with philosophical and theoretical eyes, but by the light it sheds on the things in the world, by the fact that we can see at allâ€”by the fact that reason is possible. We see reasonably, in other words, we see by the light of the origin of reason, without ever seeing that origin directly. Nevertheless, the archae, like the sun, is never far from us; it is everywhere to be seen and never to be pointed out directly even though when we point at anything we point by means of it.
But why is that archae to be thought in terms of faith rather than, as for marxists, in terms of material history or, as for feminists, in terms of the history of oppression? That question is the hardest one I brook, but I think I can say something about it. I can at least make what I think is a reasonable suggestion.
The first, quick answer is deceptively simple: for something to be the ground for a knowledge claim, I must trust it and be faithful to it. Truth requires that I be true and faithful to that of which I speak or give an account. But, as I said, the simplicity of this answer is deceptive. Hidden in it are a host of questions and philosophical problems, such as what it means to be faithful to an experience.
With an eye toward beginning to say something about the profundity of that simplicity, let me explore one way of talking about the relation of reason to its supplemental, archaic origin. It takes very little to notice that reason and explanation often involve our obligation to others. One can, of course, point out that not all reason begins with obligation. It is not difficult to think of cases of reasoning that have not been initiated by an obligation. That response, however, can perhaps be overcome by arguing that other uses of reason are parasitic on reason as a response to obligation. Or it may be overcome by arguing that the word “obligation” must be understood more broadly. In any case, for now, grant the Levinasian thesis that reason begins in obligation to another. Why reason except to explain? Why explain if there is no one to whom we owe an explanation? In a solipsistic universe, reason and explanation make no sense (at least because language makes no sense). The solipsist who argues for his solipsism contradicts that solipsism in making his argument. If this is true, then what is outside of reason, making it possible, is essentially not a thing or principle, but another person. The principle of non-contradiction is necessary to all reasoning, but its necessity comes not from itself but from the demand that I give an acceptable explanation to another. In Levinasâ€™s terms, the principles of reason have their origin in the apologetic character of reason, which is the very basis for my existence as a unique individual. He says, â€œ[The singularity of my existence] is at the very level of its reason; it is apology, that is, personal discourse, from me to the others.â€? With an argument that I can only allude to here, Levinas argues that the other person is, ultimately, God.
Marlene Zarader does not deal directly with Levinas, but she helps us understand his recourse to God by pointing out that in the Jewish tradition (she points explicitly to the medieval commentator, Nachmanides), language, and therefore reason, is essentially a response to God. The Bible understands language to be a matter of experience, the experience of hearing a call and responding. When God speaks, he does not reveal himself in the hurricane or the fire, but in a voice that addresses us. (Recall 1 Kings 19:11-13.) Zarader takes prophetic speech to be paradigmatic of all speech and says: â€œThe prophet speaks to the people and can be understood by them because his speaking remains ordained by a call that preceded it.â€?
To Levinasâ€™s argument that obligation to God and fidelity to him is the archae of reason, I would add at least one thing, also at least partly a matter of faith. However, adding this additional point will return at least some of what I suggested could be taken away when I suggested that non-obligational reason may be parasitic on obligational reason. In addition, what I say will question whether God is the only origin or supplement of reason.
I am professionally interested in what has sometimes been called Heideggerâ€™s paganism, a description used to denote the fact that Heidegger does not consider the world simply as something created ex nihilo, but as something that has its own existence and, therefore, its own power to appear to us and to demand our attention, a power that cannot be completely attributed to Godâ€™s creative act. For Heidegger the power of the world to reveal itself not only cannot be reduced to Divine fiat, it also cannot be reduced either to our subjective wills or to the objects of rational research. The world itself has the power to ground our conclusions.
Levinasâ€™s understanding of matters is more in line with traditional theology and its supposition of the creation of the world from nothing. The consequence of such an understanding is that the world itself and things in the world do not have their own existence, so they do not have their own power to show themselves to us, to reveal something. If the world is created ex nihilo, then revelation comes from God in toto and, ultimately, he is the only supplement of reason. However, Latter-day Saint belief rejects the notion of ex nihilo creation and, so, implicitly includes the idea that the things of the world have power of their own to reveal themselves. Though all things are dependent on God for their existence in this world and, so, all things point to his existence (Alma 30:44), each thing also has an aspect of independent existence and, so, the power to show itself. The appearing of the world is not reducible to will, neither to that of the Divine nor to that of human beings. Heideggerâ€™s so-called pagan understanding of the world as existing, in some sense, in itself, is more useful to Latter-day Saint thinkers than is Levinasâ€™s, though the latter does much to help us understand reason as response.
Using Heideggerâ€™s thought as a corrective to Levinasâ€™s, I am willing to say that not only are other personsâ€”ultimately the divine Personâ€”the archae or supplement that makes reason possible, but so is the appearing of the world. Contrary to the philosophical as well as the theological tradition, the archae is not singular. The unity of the archae is in us, in our lives, acts and everyday understanding, rather than in our wills and theoretical speculations, for the latter are but a representation, manifestation, or expression of the former. That is why, on a daily basis as well as ultimately, practice must take precedence over theology and speculation. The ultimate unity and, therefore, the ultimate rationality of our lives is to be found in our acts (including what we say and think) rather than only in our reflections and theories. The impetus and unity of our lives is practical rather than merely cognitive.
As I mentioned earlier, Heidegger also speaks of our relation to and understanding of the world in terms of two registers or orders of thinking. Though Heidegger uses the word “reason” for only one of those registers, I think that is a mistake; there is no reason not to speak of each as reason. One of the registers of thought is what we usually think of when we think of reason, a thinking determined by logic. That is a register that we cannot do without. If thinking is to be at all useful, it must include logic.
Nevertheless, the logical register of thought requires another, the register of faithfulness, memory, and recognition. In other words, it requires the relation to a supplement that makes it possible and meaningful. Without the relation to a supplement, the first register remains free-floating and, so, pointless. But unlike Levinas, Heidegger believes that it is as possible to be faithful to the things in the world that come to us, to be called by the things we encounter and to hearken to that call, as it is to be called by another person and to hearken to her. For Heidegger, faithfulness to the world is as possible as is faithfulness to another person, and I believe that Heidegger has much for Latter-day Saints to think about in this regard.
Reason in the fundamental sense is the welcoming, remembering, recognizing response to a call from someone or something. Fundamental reason is a response that makes possible reason in the second, narrower, emaciated sense, but that second sense of reason is also a kind of response. Otto PÃ¶ggeler points out that for Heidegger the essence of thought is not questioning, though the thinker must question. The essence of thought is not questioning because questioning relies on already finding oneself called by something and submitting oneself to it. One cannot question unless one is already in a world that reveals itself and makes demands. In other words, the essence of thinkingâ€”of reasonâ€”is response to a call, very like the response of religious faith, even when it is a response to something other than God.
As Zarader explains, the idea that reason is a matter of response is not new. In fact, in discussions of how knowledge is understood in the Bible it is almost a commonplace that Hebrew thought takes knowledge to be a matter of hearing, acquaintance, and obedience, and Greek thought (which gave us philosophy and, so, the primary way in which we think about thinking and reason) takes it to be a matter of sight, possession, and control. Too simply put (but good enough for our purposes here), for the biblical prophet, to know the truth is to be called and to obey that which calls one. For the Greek philosopher, to know the truth is to see something and to grasp what one sees. As David Banon says, for biblical writers, the basic structure of knowledge is not that of â€œâ€˜possession,â€™ but that of â€˜fidelity.â€™â€? You ask, “Is the gospel reasonable?” and the prophets answer “It is a call you can sense and to which we must respond” rather than “It is (or is not) something graspable.”
Thus, my understanding of the relation of faith and reason is simple: We find ourselves in the world, surrounded by things and people, both of which lay claim on us, call us, making demands that we respond, that we account for ourselves, that we act. Of course we know from latter-day revelation that we initially found ourselves before God, to whom we responded. He is, after all, our Creator, even if that creation was not ex nihilo. He called us into existence and continues to call us: â€œHear Oh Israel.â€? However, once we were in relation with him, we also found ourselves in the presence of others and of things, both of whom call to us, demanding our response by posing problems and questions, whether explicitly or not. If we take those calls seriously, being sufficiently faithful to those making demands on us, whether God, people, or things, that we make an adequate response to their calls, we act rationally. In its multiplicity, the call is sufficient as an origin of reason. It is basic; it cannot be reduced to one of my beliefs. It stands outside of beliefs as their origin, their supplement, initiating chains of reasons.
Because we exist, we account for ourselves before God, in relation to others, and in the world. We cannot avoid giving those accounts; we cannot avoid reason. Reason begins in an act of faith (trust and fidelity), faithful response to those beings who surround and precede us, whose very existence calls to us, making demands on us that interrupt our being: first God, then persons, then things. But not only does reason require faith, faith requires reason. Though their relation is asymmetrical, with more area covered by faith than reason, either without the other is lame or blind or both. Faith makes space for us to talk, to reason, with each other, with the world, and with God. In making the space for reason, faith makes it possible for us to live responsibly, responsively. Faith creates a space for response and, therefore, for reason.